Puppet Talk: based on other therapies

Puppet Talk

It stems from Expressive Therapy, the notion that through expression, we are well on the way to dealing with our past.

It’s also  based on NLP techniques to help de-traumatize one still trapped in the thralls of major trauma. The technique is to offer a buffer zone, a safe distancing from past events in our lives in order to view them as if we were watching a movie.

This is also psychodrama, a technique that offers us the opportunity to recreate life events as if we were directing theatre. We cast important characters in the scene, including ourselves, and we coach them in saying the sentences as we recall them being said. We position them just as they were at the time. We direct the scene, write the script, and do coaching to make sure that the events are portrayed as they need to be.

Then, if need be, we can zoom into a moment, expand it, slow it down. We can even rearrange characters, re-write the script, so that we can experience the satisfaction of closure. With understanding and often a big smile, we are free to move on.

Each of these techniques offer the storyteller a way to deal with personal history.

Share your story. (What story?)

Everyone has a story. There’s always a history behind the present moment. How you got to where you currently sit, stand, recline. When it began. What happened before that. And then what happened…

We can recall moments filled with details and colours and sounds. Some of them may be haphazard. Some may have been predetermined and cast into our DNA by our grandparents or their grandparents. If we consider all that, that too is our story.

It seems reasonable that when asked to share your story, there must be something you could say.

But, when I was asked, I discovered something else. What story? What have I done that when examined from a bird’s eye view looks or sounds like a story? I had lived through events, but were they interesting? Did they create a story-line? I didn’t see it.

Escape route 101: I asked my partner to tell me his story. I  as interviewer could happily record his beginning, middle and end. “What’s your story?” I asked him. “Tell me what makes you who you are – the events, the encounters that brought you here.”

He answered: “I have no story.”

I tried re-framing the question. His words came out the same. No. No story, here.  Now, I know he has a story. He has lived a life of experiences and relationships that could fill books.

So, what makes it hard to look at our lives and pick out the moments that when lined up would ring authentic and truly represent our path. Moments that when put on a page would offer material for a professional edit and a click of the publish button.

I know that, in the past, if an interested other has asked me what brought me to this moment, I’ve had lots to talk about, things that sounded unique and interesting. Why were those times different from being asked to listen to myself, and write?

The difference was plain. Then I had an audience. I could gear what I said to the look of interest (or lack of) in the gaze of my listener/s.

An audience. I could speak to the audience. Just like on stage or in a classroom.  Instinctively, I’d find the light in their eyes and be encouraged.

So, I came up with an idea. This idea isn’t new to me, in fact it was my original plan when I first came to Israel. The idea is simple: Puppet Talk. Let a puppet tell the story. Let a puppet narrate and if need be, bring on important characters to be arranged onstage. Let the puppet show the small scenes of real life, in shameless accuracy, complete with blunders and embarrassment. Let the puppet express it all to provide clarity to past events that happened in a tumult of emotion or social upheaval, but which stick out in our minds: those events that we remember as pivotal in our route through life.

Let the puppet do the talking so that you can stand back and watch the story of your life from a comfortable distance.

This is the idea.

When I ask myself leading questions like:

What made you come to Israel?

What made you stay?

I think back and offer a phrase or a sentence. ‘It was the smell of orange blossoms.’

“I didn’t feel so short here.”

Yet was it truly so simple? Had I left a life in Canada for a new life in a strange land, just because of the fragrance of orange blossoms? Or that other people were short and I felt physically at home? Or the joy in meeting artists, musicians, philosophers at every corner? In the supermarket, in the office of the real estate agent, or with the vegetable vendor who traded us big green Granny Smith apples for the luscious guava from our tree. Those apples were juiced, warmed and served with cinnamon during a cold winter when we didn’t have money for heat.

There are questions that can be answered with a sniff of cinnamon or orange blossoms. Words hardly do them justice. So, why use puppets? Because the puppet can provide the distance and the voice for an emotion that might be difficult to express. The puppet seldom cries, but often shows empathy. Puppets can deal with life’s absurdities and still radiate patience and understanding.

Puppet talk. An idea that needs pursuing. What is my story?  Let’s see!

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It’s Time to Meet my Inner Organizer!

It’s time to meet my inner Organizer.

I need her now, to stand in her full light, full abilities and efficiency. 

There are tasks that must be immediately addressed. Oh, Inner Organizer, appear! 

I’m not joking. This is serious.  Just look at this list of items that are carouselling in my head.

Task One for Teaching Puppetry for Excellence to pupils aged 9-12

  1. Break down the steps of puppet building in order to create a series of visuals. This needs to be ready by October 12th.

  2. Make a list of all the supplies required to teach 60 pupils in 3 puppet workshops. By Monday!

  3. Decide which items  can be donated from my own supplies. This would be good: an act of de-cluttering while offering generousity and compassion.

Task Two for Teaching Mindfulness, the Language of Attentiveness to 8th Graders

  1. Organize the Mindfulness classes into pleasant cue-cards for easy reference.

Potential further task: Home Check:

  1. Would be nice category: What needs doing in the house – decorating, rearranging, acquiring, repairing. Prioritize and make a list

I know it’s time to call in the Organizer

For her everything is basic logistics. She takes the necessary facts and arranges them nicely into viable and comprehensible steps in order to arrive at a desired result.

The Organizer is so very skilled that she attracts energy and light and makes everything line up into clearly doable chunks.

She brings relaxation to fight or flight jitters. Calm replaces chaos.  

Who wouldn’t love working with her?

It’s time for a visual as I call her forth.

Expert-Sandy Maynard

I call upon my inner Sandy Maynard: Life Coach extraordinaire.

With her, any task is as simple as eating delicious grapes. Buy them, wash them, put them in a bowl and start in. One two three and you’ve got yourself step four! Yes!

mmmm grapes

mmmm grapes

So, awake, ye Inner Sandy! Comb hair. Brush teeth. Wear a clean shirt. Fold arms and smile.

Let’s get started!

(what? first coffee? Okay. Deal!)

Meanwhile during the Military “Operation”

Operation Protective Edge

not a war. no. an Operation.

Red alerts sound

take cover

Booms. and quiet

How do I spend my time?

I am doing intensive puppet therapy.

As I do during such times and also as I do in regular times, but then only on Saturdays,  the only days I have available for foam rubber, paint and glue.

How does it work?

When I work on making puppets, I am focused. Time is irrelevant. Life is good.

puppets await further body parts

puppets await further body parts

Do I like interruptions?

When I am asked to speak about the current not-War situation: how I am, if the kibbutz was targeted, how many red alerts we’ve had, I prefer not to go there.

Back to foam rubber shaping and the artistry of a paintbrush on an eyeball.

It all connects with contact cement.

Still waiting

Still waiting

What are the signs of happiness?

My paintbrushes stand drying beside my toothbrush. A sign of life!

So, what’s new – June 3/2014

It’s been almost a year that I’ve been involved in MindCET.

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This has been a first-time pilot bringing educators together with entrepreneurs. We were offered lectures and guidance and hands-on seminars in how to build a start-up, how to think creatively, how to present. We were given workshops in how to present our idea and hone it to a form where people understood what we were getting at. We were drilled in how to hone our idea until it became feasible enough to form a site or app.

I started the year with my idea of building a meditation app – something that would know (via handheld phone) when i needed to time-out for a breathing session. the app would warn me and then offer me tactile methods to take that all important break.

That idea warped into a cocoon while I was asked to work with another educator who was building an app for interactive Museum visits. I loved the idea and we worked with imaginative advisers and UX designers.

Till she shrugged off the idea.

I went back to re-think my Meditation app.

Slowly it passed into the idea of a site where I could offer meditations.

Now it has become interactive and in a few weeks I’ll be presenting it in a big Demo Day called MindBlitz!

MindBlitz-60-1024x801

I’ll be practising my presentation, remembering my words and the statistics to back up my interest.

That’s what’s been going on with that.

I’ve been teaching puppetry to a group of 8th and 9th graders who are talented in various ways. They are very different from last year’s group who worked well together and fed each other’s differences within the framework of the puppet stage.

This year, I have individuals who have expressed themselves visually through their puppets.

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I’ve been running the Partnership 2gether project between Albany and our school in the Western Negev. These students have met via Google Hang-out since the fall and have worked on various projects including mailing one another gifts, and drawings, and ID cards. They’ve participated in online bulletin boards like linoit.com and google chats. They’ve played online Charades. But the big fail was a lack of independent chats – whether facebook or google

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Most of the American kids were not digitally connected – perhaps because of their age.

Will the project continue next year? I hope so! I want to see Dorit my partner in the project!

End of school year means end of teaching 4 classes as well.

I still have plans – to complete my haiku book

to finish my series of puppets which I’ve been working on this entire year – usually on Saturdays and school holidays.

To visit Toronto in the summer.

To finish a pilot for my Meditation site for implementation in September.

and so, this is nowtherapy – a brief review of my year – it’s been a while since I’ve had time for a review.

nothing deep here – but a skate-through – and a smile

New ally – Woof

In Now Therapy, one requires a few advisors, the confidence to confide in them, and then, when the news isn’t so good, a good friend.

Woof, a new ally

Woof, a new ally

Woof was born yesterday and although Woof may grow a tail and some paws, the germ of comfort is there.

I’m looking forward to future now therapy sessions with this ally in disguise.

And by way of association, if no dog is present in one’s life, one misses that delicious joy of unconditional positive affirmation when one comes home, shows up or in any way indicates that food might be part of the near future experience.

One needs delicious joy.

March 16 – Saturday before neighbours wake up

Even the cat hasn’t shown up.
it’s quiet round here.
barely hinting of the soon to be hot-hot day.

the quiet road

the quiet road

First Saturday of Passover vacation and all is mostly well.
Joseph Campbell and the mythology of heroes tingles in my subconsciousness as I trace the latest updates in facebook and my poetry and other forums.

I’m a moderator or administrator for a few of those sites. I never know if I’m going to click into a marvelous thread of poetry

or a bizarre discussion

or a dastardly show of chutzpah as a spambot attempts to lure in a naive public.

Will I be an agent of justice or a smiling one in a crowd of happy chatters.

I’m seldom one in a crowd. I’m seldom a happy chatter. So these possibilities intrigue!
My morning haiku reflects what currently bubbles underneath my surface

from the depths
voices drift away
self emerges

I reflect on my wishes and hopes for the next few weeks.
My book. My NLP experience as a budding practitioner.
My poetry. Collecting my latest work – publishing myself or simply passing on to another.
My puppets.

everyone's got an opinion
everyone’s got an opinion

My still percolating dream of performing The Nightingale with my puppetry class.

My wish to quiet into meditations and focus my mind on the essentials.

good air, good food, good relationships with myself and others.

happy Saturday to all.